Lab group 2015-2016 featuring snazzy new hats.
  • David Bonter

    As the Arthur A. Allen Director of Citizen Science at the Lab of Ornithology and a Senior Lecturer at Cornell University, David is in the fortunate position of engaging the public in research focused on birds and encouraging the development and scientific explorations of a growing cohort of bright undergraduate students. Dozens of students attend my weekly lab group meetings. Below are profiles of students who have published work resulting for independent research in my lab.

  • Eric Hughes

    Cornell Class of 2021

    Eric studied birds in Peru, Kenya, and Australia in his time as an undergraduate. He worked with Master’s student and lab-mate Rachael Mady for his thesis, which examined the accuracy and biological meaning of radio-frequency identification data recorded by RFID-equipped bird feeders and was published in Ecology & Evolution. Interested in environmental management and protection, Eric hopes to pursue a career in government or environmental consulting.

  • Samantha Hagler

    Cornell Class of 2020

    Sam’s primary research interest is in behavioral ecology, and she is especially interested in studying social behavior, cooperation, and polygamous mating systems in birds. She is keenly interested in the movement and foraging ecology of raptors. For her senior thesis, Sam studied the breeding biology and diets of Harris’s Hawks in South Texas, with a goal of better understanding the benefits of cooperation in this uniquely social raptor species. This work was published in the Journal of Raptor Research.

  • Rachael Mady

    MS Student

    Rachael’s work examined how supplemental feeding affected the distribution of wild birds. Her primary thesis chapter was published in Behavioral Ecology. Now a full-time research assistant with the Lab’s Center for Engagement in Science & Nature, Rachael’s work bridges the social and ecological sciences in studying how to engage the public in science.

  • Andrew Schmalfuss

    Cornell Class of 2020

    Andrew’s academic research and career plan is focused on raptor movement ecology, behavior and conservation. His senior thesis, entitled “Response of Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) to an unintentionally provided, superabundant prey resource,” studied regional changes in the distribution and abundance of birds near the Ithaca NYSDEC Game Farm and Cornell University compost facility and was published in the Journal of Raptor Research.

  • Chris Sayers

    Cornell Class of 2020

    Chris is an avid birder and photographer who, during his undergraduate career, traveled twice to Kenya on Ivy Expeditions collecting wildlife media for Macaulay Library. For his senior thesis, Chris collaborated with the SHARP team to study mercury in sparrows in salt marshes along the East Coast. This work was published in Ecotoxicology.

  • Facundo Fernandez-Duque

    Cornell Class of 2018

    Facundo studied gulls and swallows on Appledore Island, Maine, fairy-wrens in Australia, and bluebirds and house sparrows in Ithaca during his undergraduate career. He’s a skilled bird bander always looking for an excuse to study birds. His first manuscript on the use of egg oiling to limit reproduction is an invasive passerine was published in Avian Conservation and Ecology.

  • Sarah Dzielski

    Cornell Class of 2017

    Sarah has traveled the globe studying birds in Panama, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and Australia and already has two scientific publications. For her senior thesis, Sarah worked with Vanya Rowher and Lilly Twinning to study mercury contamination in historic and contemporary bird specimens. While in the lab, Sarah worked on a supplemental feeding study, published in the Journal of Field Ornithology.

  • Max Witynski

    Cornell Class of 2017

    Max is an experienced birder and bander who studied Yellow Warblers in Wisconsin and Maine as well as lyrebirds in Australia. His senior thesis project used light-level geolocators to study migratory connectivity in Yellow Warblers, and was published in the Journal of Field Ornithology.

  • Connor Rosenblatt

    Cornell Class of 2017

    When not running really long distances… Connor’s research focused on how birds of open fields (Snow Buntings, Horned Larks) utilize habitat during the non-breeding season. He’s now pursuing a graduate degree at Ohio State. Connor’s senior thesis was published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

  • Liam Berigan

    Cornell Class of 2017

    Liam’s senior thesis examined factors correlated with House Sparrow declines across North America using data from Project FeederWatch and was published in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology. He also worked on a GIS project examining nest site selection in Common Eiders on Appledore Island, Maine. Following Cornell, Liam completed a Master’s degree studying prairie chickens at Kansas State and is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Maine.

  • Taylor Heaton Crisologo

    Cornell Class of 2016

    Taylor studied parental nest defense behavior and the factors influencing nesting success in Herring Gulls at Shoals Marine Lab. She also worked on Superb Lyrebird displays as well as fairy-wrens in Australia. Taylor’s senior thesis was published in Ethology.

  • Hunter Reed

    Cornell Class of 2016

    Hunter’s senior thesis focused on the influence of bird feeders on the distribution of small mammals, and was published in Ecological Applications. He graduated from Cornell Vet School in 2020 and is currently a wildlife veterinarian with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

  • Michelle Moglia

    Cornell Class of 2014

    Michelle studied the array of coloration in bird eggs, using the gulls of Appledore Island as a model system. She has two scientific publications from her undergraduate career based on her two summers of adventures working in the gull colonies at Shoals Marine Lab.

  • Shailee Shah

    Cornell Class of 2014

    Shailee’s novel research demonstrated how gulls encode information in their alarm calls–work published in Animal Behaviour. Shailee went on to complete a Ph.D. at Columbia University conducting research on Superb Starlings in Kenya.

  • Luke DeFisher

    Cornell Class of 2013

    Pulled from the kitchen at Shoals Marine Lab, Luke proved to be a keen biologists and inspirational member of the lab. Luke’s thesis work on the effects of invasive ants on gull reproduction was one of two publications from his undergraduate career. Luke is now an expert cider maker at Rootstock Ciderworks.

  • Sarah MacLean

    Cornell Class of 2013

    A founding member of the lab group, Sarah won the SUNY Chancellor’s Prize and numerous other awards during her illustrious undergraduate career. She has 3 scientific publications from her undergraduate work and went on to complete a Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. Check out her website.

  • Matt Savoca

    Cornell Class of 2010

    Matt’s research on gull nest site selection and success led to his first publication and sparked an interest in seabird ecology. He completed a Ph.D. at UC Davis studying why seabirds ingest plastic, a major conservation issue. Learn more about Matt’s work.